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Monday, April 30, 2012

Mindful Screen Time

Today through May 6th is Screen-Free week! As you can see by this blog post, my participation thus far has been poor. I woke up this morning with good intentions but habit had me flicking on the TV to watch the morning news.


There went my "screen-free" week and I had not even got out of bed yet!

No worries! I feel that "all-or-nothing" is not the way to change habits. I do want to become more mindful of our family time spent in front of screens. This is the week I chose to start!

Last week, I watched this TED talk by Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone. This talk is everything I have been thinking and discussing with my mom lately. I feel the children of today are so "connected" with social media that they are not making physical, emotional connections in real life.

My two oldest daughters have been asking when they will be allowed to have cell phones. They tell me that "all their friends have them." Their friends are on Facebook and YouTube. Their friends have their own email and Oovoo and Twitter accounts.

My daughters do not. Nor will they until they reach the required age limit for those sites, which I believe is 13 years old. It seems so overwhelming to know these children are connected to so much social media at such a young age. One of Madelyn's friends has almost 900 photos posted on her Facebook account! 900!!

Adults are not immune to the time wasting of screen time, either. I admit that I spend many hours on the internet, watching shows I have saved on our DVR or movies from Netflix. I have many social media accounts and I enjoy them. I really do! They can quickly steal time from me, though, that I may have spent happily elsewhere.

Some days I complain that I "didn't have enough time" to finish one thing or another that I had planned to do. I DID have the time. The time was lurking in perusing Facebook status updates, clicking on links from Twitter, reading blogs, checking or sending emails... perhaps even writing this blog post?

The fact is screen-time is not always wasteful. It is a great source of entertainment and information for me and for us as a family. The problem is when all those little bits of time spent searching Pinterest for a perfect handmade gift or waiting for crops to bloom in Castleville creates this void of time that you can not retrieve.

This week, I wish to be more mindful of my own screen-time as well as ours as a family. I want to  notice when time spent in front of a screen is "wasted time" and to choose another activity instead.

Today, we spent much of the afternoon outside. The television and computers stayed off limits to the kids. I did get on the internet several times today and Madelyn had a new PS3 game arrive so I allowed her to play that for awhile. I did finish the outfits I made for the twins' birthday (which is tomorrow!). I also sewed two special "birthday" pillowcases for their bed. I feel this was a big score for me considering the poor start to my screen-free week.

Tonight, instead of watching television during snack time, we played a few rounds of Phase 10. Mike, Madelyn, Lana and I played and the other girls each had a partner to help hold the cards and pick up from the draw pile. Everyone was involved and had a fun time!

I plan on using the rest of the week to be more mindful of wasted screen-time. I do not want to take an all-or-nothing approach. I think there can be a happy medium ground that we can all learn and grow from. Let us reclaim lost time and practice slow living away from screens.  Will you join me?

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I appreciate you stopping by! Thank you for commenting! xo ~Olivia